A Root Canal

Uses For Retainers In Dentistry

A retainer is a device that is custom-made for a person by a dentist or orthodontist, and retainers can be made of metal or hard plastic. When a dentist recommends wearing a retainer, it is for a specific purpose, and there are several different reasons dentists recommend retainers. Here are three of the most common uses for retainers in dentistry.

To Keep Teeth Aligned And Straightened

The most common use for a retainer is to keep teeth aligned and straightened after a person has braces. Braces come in several types, but all braces share one thing in common. They are there to straighten and align teeth. The problem is that after a person gets their braces removed, the person's teeth will begin shifting almost immediately back to their original positions. The best way to stop this from happening is by wearing a retainer. Because of this, a person will receive a retainer immediately after getting braces off, and the dentist will instruct the person to wear this all the time except while eating.

To Correct Problems With A Person's Teeth And Jaw

The second use for a retainer is to correct major problems with a person's jaw, palate, or teeth, and this type of retainer is often used prior to the person getting braces. If a person has an under-bite, for example, a dentist may create a custom retainer for this person to wear that will help correct the under-bite. In most cases, these types of retainers are designed and worn by kids who are young. The purpose is to let the child's jawbone move to a different position while the jawbone is still growing and forming. It is easier to re-position a jawbone during this stage rather than to wait until the jawbone is fully formed and in place.

To Improve Breathing While Sleeping

There is also one other type of retainer dentists offer, which is a type used to help a person breathe easier while they are sleeping. While this is not as common of a use for a retainer, it is still one of the uses. A retainer designed for this purpose typically keeps the upper and lower jaws separated just slightly to allow air to move easier while a person sleeps.

If your dentist recommends wearing a retainer, you should wear it as often as he or she suggests. By doing this, you can correct a problem found in your mouth or keep your teeth straight. To learn more about retainers, talk to a dentist or an orthodontist, like those at Brian Smith Orthodontics, today.